Monday, December 21 2020

the flaming omelette, rodney's tower, and organizing toys



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Dear Journal,

Good morning, everyone. Happy Monday, and welcome to Christmas week. I've got a touch of indigestion today. This morning's theme would have to be homemade desserts and regret. While dropping off presents to the family this weekend, all three houses sent us home with delicious snacks to eat. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if my family didn't have such good taste in snacks. Temptations abound, and these days I have a hard time heading up to bed without first helping myself to a giant wedge of Sarah's chocolate bobka or Kelly's red velvet jingle balls. And on top of everything, we're still working through Marissa's leftover cookies. Self control is in short supply these days. But then again, what good is self control around Christmas. It's been one hell of a year, and why shouldn't we get it and eat our cake too?

Sip. What desserts do you unconsciously cram in your mouth as you go about your day? Do you like to eat everything that once, or do you like to spread out the gluttony throughout the week? And how is your Monday going?

I'm feeling good today. It helps that we have a short work week ahead of us. The virtual office is closed on Thursday and Friday, and most of my team has taken off for the holidays. Between the production change freeze and the junk time between business quarters, it's shaping up to be a quiet week. So to make the most of it, I had better pick a fun project in the realm of personal productivity to work on. My JIRA HUD could use some love, I have some org mode capture templates burning a hole in my pocket, and if things get really quiet I could always pick some new colors for my Google calendar. The potential for fun, heads-down, cozy kind of work abounds.

And with that, I'll transition to reflecting on our long, happy weekend. The big adventure happened on Saturday, of course, but there were lots of things in between worth mentioning. For instance, there was this flaming dessert omelette.

Marissa and I stayed up late on Friday night making French toast for the car ride. With a bowl of leftover whisked eggs, I decided to give French Cooking Academy's Flambee omelette a try. I didn't set it up or explain what I was doing. While Marissa hung around the kitchen chatting my ear off, I just very casually grabbed an extra skillet from the rack and began.

"OK, shut the lights off," I said, reaching for the lighter. I poured a splash of white rum into a measuring cup and held it over the stove. "Are you ready for the camera?"

Not knowing what to expect, Marissa took a step back and pointed her phone.

"OK, now," I ordered. I waved the lighter over the liquid. Nothing happened.

"That's OK," I laughed. "I didn't expect it to work the first time."

I did a second take. This time, the cup of rum caught fire. A little blue flame danced on top the surface. I poured it over the omelette. The fire enveloped the plate, making the dusted sugar begin to crackle. After letting it burn for a few seconds, I leaned it and blew it out.

"That was honestly a lot cooler than I thought it would be," said Marissa.

I nodded in agreement. "Yeah, same," I laughed. "I tried it by myself in the kitchen earlier and it didn't look nearly as cool."

That's a good last minute dessert and a good party trick to keep in my back pocket.

Earlier that evening, we also took Rodney to go see the Christmas lights along John Nolan. We patiently waited in a long line of cards to turn into the festive display. There, we witnessed the brightly lit splendor of a spectacles like a dinosaur pushing his baby in a stroller, a golfing Santa, and a gaggle of elves gathered around a reeling slot machine (sponsored by our local Ho-Chunk Gaming casino).

2020 12 21 lights

Driving all over state lines on Saturday tired us out. We didn't wake up until after 11 AM. Even Miles slept in. But Rodney was up, and he used the time to construct this k'nex tower.

2020 12 21 tower

Rodney ran downstairs. Marissa and I stood around the tower to admire it. I was excited about this development. This is by far the biggest thing he has ever built on his own, and it's so fun seeing the kinds of things Rodney comes up with on his own in a creative vacuum. Not all of the pieces of his goofy, lopsided tower fit together neatly, but you can't help but admire his innovation and persistence working around the limitations he didn't understand. In the end, it gave his structure a silly wobble that made it feel like it belonged in the background of a Dr. Seuss illustration.

"This kind of reminds me of that crazy smiley face he drew on his whiteboard," I commented.

Marissa, still groggy, turned to me and recreated Rodney's goofy hand drawn smiley face with her face.

We watched the Bears game, and after dinner the rest of the evening was dedicated to going through Rodney's toys. Marissa had an idea to move some storage bins out of his closet to give Rodney more room to keep toys in his room. Having a knack for organization, Rodney picked up on the change quickly and took control, parking all of his cars and trucks along the wall following a very particular system.

2020 12 21 closet

It was a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by today. Have a great week, everyone.